Author Archives: Mark Morrison

Back to the source: MIFF 2009


It’s great to be back at MIFF after a hiatus of a few years. Since James Hewison stepped off the chair in 2006, I’ve found little in the program to fire up my genre-loving senses; in my uninformed view, there seemed to be too much unwatchable introspection and not enough raging gunfights. However, this year the program has ratcheted up many a notch, so I’m off to the movies for a week.

Things I’ve missed about MIFF: talking to complete … (read more)

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Mark’s GBW for 2008

The GoodThe Eighth Wonder of the World

This is actually a short tourist doco presented shown at the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Xi’an, China. Partly for the century-spanning plot from crazed despot who wanted to be buried with an army of life-sized soldiers right through to the accidental farmers who dug a well in 1974 and hit terracotta paydirt; partly because it’s in CIRCLE VISION, which means you stand in a big round room and the warring armies … (read more)

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Tell Me Something (1999)

This Korean serial killer flick slides scalpel through flesh in the opening credits. It’s basically a popcorn movie, assuming you like your popcorn with extra gristle, further proof that “subtitles” does not mean “arthouse”. It’s highly commercial, and if it wasn’t in Korean it might star Brad Pitt and be now playing in a multiplex near you (actually, if it did star Brad Pitt, he’d be a candidate for a perfect 6-part amputation – this is for Legends of the (read more)

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Inugami (2000)

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Nature is pretty unbalanced in Inugami, director Masato Harada’s dark modern folk tale filmed from Masako Bando’s novel. On the surface, the rural village of Omine looks like a pleasant posting for new art teacher Akira Nakahura. Nice wooded hills, friendly locals, and a local paper-maker called Miki Bonomiya who seems to become more beautiful each time he sees her. But strangely she doesn’t seem so popular around the village, maybe due to the fact that everyone knows that … (read more)

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Ring 0 (2000)

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Poor Ring Zero. It never should have been born.

It’s the bastard progeny of the mega-successful Ring series. With the deliriously creepy Ring and the telekinetically explosive Ring 2 already out in circulation, the investors were crawling out of the television with sackfulls of cash wanting another in the series. But Ring 2 pretty much wraps up the plot. The solution? Crank out a prequel. Oh no, the Ring cycle just caught the George Lucas virus. We’ll have to … (read more)

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Perfect Blue (1998)

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A hallucinogenic animated thriller about a pop idol who changes careers to acting. She goes from tiny roles to demeaning roles, and then things get stranger.

The film explores the whole idol phenomenon – who are you, a person or the public’s idea of a person? What happens when you want to become your real self?

The plot is intricately enmeshed with that of the soap opera being filmed within the film. Throw in a few layered dream sequences and … (read more)

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Old Boy (2003)

Let’s get this out of the way first: to quote the MIFF catalogue, Park Chan-Wook’s Old Boy contains scenes which may offend some viewers. Which is to say, lead actor Choi Min-shik eats a live octopus. (Don’t blame me, I’m a vegetarian.) Now we’re not talking about a delicate gulp-and-swallow deal here; that sucker is about the size of a kitten, and he pretty much chomps it down.

I could explain that it’s actually vital to the plot, as … (read more)

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The Man from Hong Kong (1975)

Piss off Picnic at Hanging Rock, stuff Strictly Ballroom, bugger Breaker Morant — this is the Aussie film that you were born to watch!

Two-fisted and way groovy, The Man from Hong Kong is a lost Australian/Hong Kong kung fu classic. ScreenSound have wonderfully restored both the Technicolour (TM) print and the funkadelic audio. It hasn’t looked this good since 1975 (come to think of it, neither have I…)

See Sammo Hung and an Ocker cop go at … (read more)

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